There was a time when General Motors (GM) was the automotive innovator. For a while, the compact was the trend-setter when it came to transportation.
GM Authority reported that during that golden era, GM knew what buyers wanted before they knew they wanted to. Vehicles such as the Chevrolet Corvette and the Pontiac GTO were perfect examples. And among the plethora of product-focused creations GM brought to the table during its high time was the GMC motorhome.
Back then, no mainstream carmaker offered a recreational vehicle to market, which made the GMC motorhome – conceived and sold during the mid-seventies – a big deal. Plus, many would argue that the GMC MotorHome was up to 30 years ahead of its time when compared with conventional RVs sold during that era.
Introduced through an ad with the catchy slogan, “It doesn’t ride like a truck, it doesn’t look like a box,” the GMC motorhome set itself apart from conventional RVs thanks to its futuristic streamlined design resting on its own bespoke aluminum-intensive architecture. It was also a mechanical tour de force, using not-before seen features such as a side-by-side rear wheel setup with air suspension, which gave the motorhome unparalleled ride quality compared to the conventional dually configuration.
The GMC motorhome was powered by an Oldsmobile 455 cubic-inch V8, taken directly from the front-wheel drive Toronado. As a result, all of the coach’s mechanical components rested over the front wheels, meaning it left plenty of space for interior space packaging, a vital element for RVs. During six years of production, more than 12,000 GMC motorhomes were built, making it a successful and profitable vehicle for GM.
So why did GM cancel it? At the time, GM bean counters figured there was more money to be made building trucks than recreational vehicles. Meanwhile, the GMC motorhome was brought to life when gas prices were quite high. Either way, the decision to drop is seems rather short-sighted, as the market for RVs boomed throughout the 80’s and 90’s.
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